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PART TWOThe Pacific Ocean Chapter 37
The ship sank. It made a sound like a monstrous metallicburp. Things bubbled at the surface and then vanished.
Everything was screaming: the sea, the wind, my heart. Fromthe lifeboat I saw something in the water.
I cried, "Richard Parker, is that you? It's so hard to see.
Oh, that this rain would stop! Richard Parker? Richard Parker?
Yes, it is you!"I could see his head. He was struggling to stay at thesurface of the water.
"Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and Vishnu, how good to seeyou, Richard Parker! Don't give up, please. Come to thelifeboat. Do you hear this whistle? TREEEEEE! TREEEEEE!
TREEEEEE! You heard right. Swim, swim! You're a strongswimmer. It's not a hundred feet."He had seen me. He looked panic-stricken. He startedswimming my way. The water about him was shifting wildly. Helooked small and helpless.
"Richard Parker, can you believe what has happened to us?
Tell me it's a bad dream. Tell me it's not real. Tell me I'm stillin my bunk on the Tsimtsumand I'm tossing and turning and soon I'll wake up from thisnightmare. Tell me I'm still happy. Mother, my tender guardianangel of wisdom, where are you? And you, Father, my lovingworrywart? And you, Ravi, dazzling hero of my childhood?
Vishnu preserve me, Allah protect me, Christ save me, I can'tbear it! TREEEEEE! TREEEEEE! TREEEEEE!"I was not wounded in any part of my body, but I hadnever experienced such intense pain, such a ripping of thenerves, such an ache of the heart.
He would not make it. He would drown. He was hardlymoving forward and his movements were weak. His nose andmouth kept dipping underwater. Only his eyes were steadily onme.
"What are you doing, Richard Parker? Don't you love life?
Kick with your legs. Kick! Kick! Kick!"He stirred in the water and made to swim.
"And what of my extended family – birds, beasts andreptiles? They too have drowned. Every single thing I value inlife has been destroyed. And I am allowed no explanation? Iam to suffer hell without any account from heaven? In thatcase, what is the purpose of reason, Richard Parker? Is it nomore than to shine at practicalities – the getting of food,clothing and shelter? Why can't reason give greater answers?
Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in ananswer? Why such a vast net if there's so little fish to catch?"His head was barely above water. He was looking up, takingin the sky one last time. There............
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